front porch trash

front porch trash

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Freezing My Butt Off

 You know its bad in the South when school is closed. Yesterday a neighboring county closed school all day because the weatherman predicted snow...LATE in the day. Our county, a very rural county, had school but got out early. Not a flake of snow until about 6pm here at the palace.

Now, I have lived in the South, specifically in NC, all of my life. We are the worst snow people in the world. If the weatherman even thinks about that word...SNOW...they shut the schools, cancel the soaps and have full time coverage of the non-snow weather. It is so funny...kinda. And it is pathetic also. Gotta get those ratings.

Then the weatherman gets on TV and talks about all of the ice, snow, and power outages after the snow gets here. What to do in a power outage, what to do in the snow. If you have a power outage how are you able to watch TV and find out what to do? My SweetiePie just spent 2 hours at lunch watching the weather from our local TV station. I really don't need to see a grown man, TV reporter, slide down a snow covered hill while I'm eating my lunch. Really? Nothing to report?

At the first talk of snow everyone rushes to the grocery store for bread, milk and eggs. Why? I saw one man leaving the grocery store with 6 loaves of bread and a cart full of milk and bottled water and beer. Now, I don't know who he was feeding, but 6 loaves of bread? Yes, I did go to the grocery store, but not for bread or milk. I needed eggs and of course since it's cold I needed ice cream. What? A girls gotta have her treats.
So quiet and serene
SweetiePie got the car out
We have about 3" on the ground now and it's not going anywhere for a few days. My daughter who lives about 50 miles south of us got 6". The weatherman is predicting 7 for tonight. By this weekend it will be in the 60's  and the snow should be gone.

What I really want to know is when will I be able to go thrifting?

UPDATE: Found the names of the Pokemon plush guys
The yellow with gray stripes is Elekid and the flower looking girl is Bellossom and the little, round one that zipps into a poke ball is Togepi. Yeah, research rules and  they are listed as of this morning. Time will tell, but at least I know their names. Priced them kinda high and will hope for the best, if not, I'll lower the price.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Return to Estate Sales

I'm normally a yard sale kinda gal. But every so often I see an estate sale that I just can't resist. I found one last week that was on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. I couldn't do the Sunday at half off. We were having a birthday dinner for January that was postponed from last week due to the lack of running water here at the "palace" and I knew I couldn't get to the Sunday sale so I hit the sale on Friday. So did lots of other folks.

You couldn't sign up until 3:30 and the doors opened at 4. My reasoning was that I didn't want the items that were so prominently featured in the listing. They had high end furniture, Kitchen Aid, Caphalon and lots of Oriental china and the like. I figured I would just concentrate on the smalls, which were out the wahzoo. So when I rode by the address just after 4pm, there were still about 30 people in the yard waiting to get in the door. I had to park almost a block away. Something was telling me that this was going to be a good sale.

When I got to the door they were letting 3 in at 5 minute intervals, and I could see that the house was already packed. When I did get in it was wall to wall shoppers. One lady in the garage was commenting that she felt dizzy and might pass out. Being the sensitive person that I am, I jokingly said to her if she did pass out with all the people in here she would never hit the floor. We laughed, because it was true. Almost all of the big items that were featured in the pictures on line were already taken when I got in. Sony Handycam DCR DVD, Bose headphones, video games and flat screen TV's. You could tell the things that were priced "just like ebay" because they were still there.

So I headed off to the bedrooms to find some gems. Most things I either wasn't interested in or were too high priced. I don't need furniture, knick knacks or golf clubs. I did find two pair of Foot Joy golf shoes that will bring me about $50 and these plushy gems.

I found a basket in one of the kids bedrooms that yielded these Pokemon plush. Three of them are sorta rare.
These two big ones and the little round one at the bottom. The two big ones are available only in Japan as prizes for tournaments and were never sold in stores. The blossom one, NWT, is currently on ebay for $39. The yellow one with gray stripes I haven't found yet. More research needed. And the little round one is a Pokeman poke ball. The poke balls that are available now are plastic and open up. This one is all plush with a zipper and flips inside out. More research needed.

See what the plush is sitting on? A Ralph Lauren Polo Bear blue striped sheet set! I have found these sheets before and had good luck with them. But never a complete set. And never a Queen size. Ebay is filled with twin sheets and a few twin sets. King sheets, a single one, will go for $100+ consistently. I had no idea how to price these. Worthpoint had a pre-owned Queen set last year sell at about $80. I crossed my fingers and listed them on Sunday for $95. They sold in less than 6 hours.

Since I only spent $25 at the estate sale, I have nothing but profit left. I think it was worth the 45 minute drive to the "other side of the tracks".

Friday, January 24, 2014

Putt Putting Along

When the new year rolled around I considered how I wanted to improve my ebay store. I had been busy since August trying to get my store inventory up in anticipation of the holiday shopping. I was trying to get items into my store that would sell, regardless of the selling price. I think that the lowest priced item I had was priced at $3.99. After looking at the profit margin on items priced in the range of $3.99 to $6.99 I decided to phase out those lower priced items. I also looked at things that didn't sell at all or took forever to sell. Those had to go also.

As a result of my decisions I have eliminated some items that just didn't do it for me.

I have been an avid seamstress since I learned to sew on my grandmother's treadle sewing machine when I was about 8-9 years old. Granted, it took a while to gain some skills on the sewing machine, but I kept at it until I could do a decent job. I proudly made both of my high school prom gowns. Not because I wanted to show my skills off, but because financially it was a smart move. I figure I save about $100 on each gown by making them myself. So to make a long story short, I know my way around a pattern or two.
I had a habit of picking up patterns at yard sales or the scrap exchange for 10c to 25c. Good profit margin when most patterns go for $5-$10. But most of the patterns I picked up just didn't sell. The ones that did sell were vintage craft patterns ($10-25)and Vogue Couture Patterns($25-90). So I have eliminated just about all of my patterns.

I like mugs. They are easy to find. Fairly easy to ship. Easy to store. But most mugs don't bring me the profit margin I'm looking for. I just can't sell a mug for more than $10-12 for the life of me. I need to be more selective with my mugs. I type this as a basket is sitting next to the computer with about 6 mugs in it ready to list. Most of the older listing I won't be relisting because I could use the space for things that will sell faster. And all you sellers out there that sell Starbucks mugs right and left. Good for you because I can't do that. I have two city mugs that I have had listed(maybe a little high$) for about 9 months and while 4 others that I listed at the same time have sold these two are holding up progress. Time to bite the bullet and lower the price.

Infant Loveys-Security Blankie
These are so sweet. What a good idea. Better than carrying around a full size blanket until you get married.(really happened) Or having the hotel housekeeper think it is trash and throwing it away (yep, same blankie)
But I can't sell them. I have a storage box full of them and while I sell one occasionally, it isn't worth my while or storage space to buy any more. I have tried raising my prices, lowering my prices, just about anything to get them to sell and zilch. And I have this one for sale that truly baffles me. I regularly get over 100 hits a month on this one item.Cute as a button and perfect shape.
But it has been sitting forever. Well, at least six months. When I listed the super hero there was one other in the expired listings for about $50. I thought that was too high so I went lower. Lets face it, this isn't a rare item. So mark these off my shopping list. No more blankies.

On to more positive things. Starting off the new year I decided to only list new items that will bring me at the very least $10 profit. And of course I immediately begin to sell lower priced items. Tuesday I shipped out 4 items. An average day. Total cost of these varied items were $5.80. The total profit on these 5 items was $46.79. Not a bad day. But a bad day when you consider one item, a boggle game sold for $6.99 and another item sold for $24.99, a new flannel gown.  That's too much of a difference to make me happy. I want more $24.99 and up sales.

Now, I must go purge stuff. It makes me feel better, gives me more room AND I can go thrifting and buy stuff that will sell.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

As Expected...

How do you feel about feedback?

Everyone dreads to open their email and find a case has been opened because the buyer didn't like something, you missed something, or the post office hasn't delivered. I have a little panic attack every time I find a message from a customer in my email. It could be nice or it could mean disaster.

I received a personal email from someone who recently purchased a yogurt maker. I think it was very nice of them to leave me such a nice message. They had received the machine and it worked. That was nice but at last check they hadn't left feedback. Probably won't. Do I care? Yes. And no. Feedback means a lot to my ebay status but now that ebay has changed things it doesn't mean much to someone checking my feedback, other than numbers. They can't see who purchased an item, what the item was or the cost of the item. All about numbers.

The interesting feedback of the week? Well it was a tie between two feedback responses. The first was for a TI graphing calculator ($65+ shipping) that went to Russia.
"thank you brothers, all the best, I recommend"
All is not lost in translation, brother.

The second item was one of two yogurt makers ($20+shipping)I picked up at my favorite thrift. When I picked them they were really dirty, but all of the glass containers and lids were there and no cracks to the unit.
"like to inform you, we have received the Yogurt- Maker and it works fine. Wish you a good week with best wishes."
 I am always relieved when something arrives safely, especially if it is glass. And I always want a good week!!

But the winner, hands down, was for this item I picked out of the free section on New Years Eve. Not a big sale, but it was new with all of the pieces. $13+shipping
The feedback response? "As expected"

I suppose I should be grateful that I have great feedback and she expected to receive what I had described. But I was hoping for a few more words.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Passport please

Sometimes, well all the time, I am surprised at what I sell daily.  This weekend was a slow one. I only sold 6 items all weekend, including a late one on Friday. I think it's due to the fact that I only listed 3 items on Friday, one listing on Saturday and 5 listings on Sunday. I had 4 sales on Sunday. It always goes like that. If I don't list anything I have crappy sales. If I list 3-5 items I have decent sales. Of course ebay officially denies any connection to listings and sales. How about the fact that they were all on the east coast? Huh ebay?

A shout out to Nancy for helping me find out what this was.
They are Maori nesting dolls from New Zealand called Whanau dolls. I had a hard time finding out myself what they were. I was thinking aborigine from Australia, so I was close. But thanks Nancy for the help. (And glad you are feeling better)They sold over the weekend for full asking price and they are going to Australia. I think if they do any more traveling they will need a passport. And I just noticed that I misspelled New Zealand in my listing. Duh!!! (That was the sound of me hitting my head with my hand) Also taking the trip to Australia is this:
Sold for $6, not much but it was free!
It's an Awana Cubbies Handbook. Living in the Bible Belt, I know all about this. Awana is a teaching/social group at local churches aimed at school aged children. This is the beginner handbook. It was new, unused and in the free section.

Gosh, I love the free section.

I stopped in at my local GW last week while out doing errands. I hate it when I pick out something, this time a nice Nike workout tank top, and when I get it to the counter I am told "This should have been hanging up". Meaning, I want to charge you $3.29 for it instead of $1.39. What I wanted to say was that you should have hung it up. But I was just about to say no thanks when the clerk said that since I had several things that should have been hung up and that it was their mistake, she would charge me the bin price instead of the hanging price. Yeah!! I know it is a battle for the clerks because some people take things off hangers and dump them in the bin expecting to get bin price. But I don't do that and I would think that these employees, who have been there a while, would know where things should go. Sure, they are swamped with donations now and things get tossed here and there because they have a limited amount of time to get the donations out on the floor and a limited amount of personnel.

This little speech from a clerk about the hanging or not hanging item is the same clerk who dumped a pair of cowboy boots on the shoe rack with horse poop and straw still clinging to the bottom. I know because last week I purchased these boots and they were loaded with dried horse poop and straw and totally dirty. I ain't afraid of no dirt, or horse poop!!!
They cleaned up really well and sold for $43
And they sold within 6 hours of listing. And they were Ariat Fatbaby boots. And they didn't mark them through the roof. Probably because the bottom of the boot was so dirty that there was no place to mark them up!!

Meanwhile, I'm trying to find an excuse to go thrifting this week. Any ideas?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


How do you decide what to list?

I've been following Pam over on her blog. She had decided to list $200 in sold value every day. Wow, that is ambitious. She recently scaled back to just listing every day.

That got me to thinking. (I know, that is a dangerous thing!!) I try to list at least 5 things every day. To me that is a lot. Some days the $$ amount is $100 and other days it is a lot less. For example, I just sold another Christmas applique fabric panel for $4.99. I purchased a whole bolt of these panels and listed them as per panel, figuring no one would want an entire bolt. If I had followed my new, self imposed rule I would not have listed these.

What is my new rule, you ask.

I was going through my ebay stuff and trying to sort out things. I had just made my end of the year haul and desperately needed some space to store the stuff until I can take pictures. What to donate and what to list. Big questions that need fast answers before I drown in ebay stuff. I decided to not list anything that I couldn't make at least a $10 profit. Sounds easy? Not really. Like the fabric panels. They cost me about 25c each and I can sell them for $5 each. I can't list them for $10 each, they won't sell that high. Well, they might but it would take a few years. So I listed at $5 each and I have already recouped my original investment and the rest is pure profit. And since I made the rule, I can adjust it whenever I want. The perks of being "the boss".

But for most things I have tried to abide by my new rule. We'll see how it goes. Over on the Ebay  Entrepreneur Tristen had some good ideas for staying more productive and efficient. Auction Calc is one of the aps available that will help you calculate your profit. When you find an item and are trying to decide whether to purchase or not, you can plug in the cost and it will calculate what your sales price would have to be to reach your profit level. I think this is something I will be checking on in the very near future.

How do you decide what to keep?
Remember the free stuff that I picked on New Years Eve? I don't know what I was thinking. I really have more to deal with than I know what to do with. I should have looked more closely at the books. Most are too young for my granddaughters. So I got to thinking what I should do with them and I decided to take them to our town library. It is a very, very small library and I am sure that they could use some new books. If they can't use them they can sell them at their spring book sale and use the money to purchase ones they do need.Personally,  I wish they would get more audio books. I have "read" all that they have. Also, a few of the things were broken and I couldn't sell them for parts so I tossed them. Anything else I think I can donate to a place where it will do some good will be taken there. And of course I will sell some of it, mostly the NIB. After all I have bills just like everyone else.

So, how do you decide?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Did everyone have a good New Year's Eve and Day?

I was a good girl and stayed in after I got home on NYEve. Not a big party person. And we have been sick since Christmas so no one was in the mood for partying. SweetiePie even went to bed before midnight. I was still working on inventory and watched the local festivities. No, not the possum drop, the acorn drop. After all Raleigh is the City of Acorns. Makes sense because it is the state capital, home of the state legislature and political stuff and acorns are nuts.......

I had one last coupon for $10 off at my favorite thrift store and I just couldn't bring myself to let it go to waste. So off I go to cash in the coupon. My first stop was the newer thrift store that is in an upscale neighborhood always rewards me with some goodies. NYE was no different.  Thanks to some thrifting blogs that I read, I picked up a couple of good things.
A Wearever Super Shooter, a Laural Birch coffee mug, a PC Gingerbread House Stoneware kit NIP, a make up mirror and an Andis Air Styler.
I think I remember reading something about this Andis thingy. It heats up air and blows it through you hair that is wrapped around the curling iron. I can't find any on ebay right now, but I will keep looking for more info on it before I list.

I also picked up a Goofy huge mug, 15 skirts, 22 blouses, 1 dress and 10 different sheets, some sets. Care to guess my total expenditure?  A whopping $48.71.  I think that is a pretty decent haul considering that I can almost make that back with the super shooter alone. Everything else is just gravy.

And I am saving the best part for last. The second thrift store I went to is the one with the free stuff area and the outside bins for 25 cents. I went back to the free bins and it looked like a garbage dump. Broken this, broken that and just plain junk in the bins. Then I decided to check out the books on the other side and when I walked around the corner what did my "wondering eyes behold" but boxes and boxes of toys. There was a guy bringing out boxes of toys, some new some old, but boxes of stuff. This was stuff that they had no room for inside, which I found out when I went inside. So they literally took it out of your vehicle into the back door and brought it back out in a few minutes to the free area. Now, I don't want it to look like I was greedy and took all of the free stuff, not by any stretch of the imagination. I took two hauls to my truck and this is what I got.

This is the majority of the free stuff. From left to right. A Pampers box with mega bloks Dora Explorer house, assorted mega bloks and a bunch of little action figures. Sitting on that box is a Disney castle, next LPS stuff, Mermaid keyboard, a NIP Ariel doll, a stack of books and games (mostly new),  TMNT figures, Hot Wheels play set, Tonka helicopter (no sound), new fairy wings, 2 Buzz Lightyear, BABW purple slumber party bear, and all of the stuff piled up on the right is new stuff. There are 5 new pair of children's slippers, a fleece throw, new lipstick, nail glitter and boxes of crayons. The other stuff in the front is just a mish mash of stuff. Oh, on the rocker behind the books is a new winter tek jacket NWT and a Harley boys fleece jacket.
On the corner of the couch are a bunch of Lego sets, NIP and a bunch more PC games. Some of the PC games are the original case with a copy disc inside. Can't sell those, but there is a stack of instruction manuals on the left that will sell just as well. And a group of 12 Disney princess vinyl figures that were in the castle.

Think I took more than my share? When I left there were about 15 huge boxes full of the same sort of stuff that I picked up. I got one large box and two smaller boxes with stuff. So I did leave lots for everyone else.